“The Real Face of Poverty”

This year our UK team has again run education simulation programmes, Global X-periences, at school and university level, helping participants understand the challenges of poverty as well as the refugee dilemma. The programmes run deep and so do the responses. Here’s a sampling.

“The real face of poverty is not what we think,” a nursing student from Zimbabwe fed back to us. “I cannot imagine the stress of those living that kind of life. I felt helpless and frustrated in the system. It was an eye-opening experience that will help me relate to the struggles they face on daily basis. It allowed me to put myself in their shoes.”

The simulation, said one who organised adult student participation, gave “first-hand knowledge of a situation you would [otherwise] never experience. It was well planned and awesome, enjoyable but shocking too.”

A university participant said the programme showed her that “these things can happen to anyone regardless of how hardworking or intelligent you are.” The frustration in breaking out of the poverty cycle hit her hard. “It demonstrated how hopeless these situations can be, it felt like running in circles. The simulations changed the way I perceive poverty, homelessness and even being an addict. Instead of jumping to a conclusion and judging, I started thinking what bad things could have happened in a person’s life that led him/her to live like that.”

Students participating in the Struggle for Survival simulation led by our CGV UK manager Natalya Hanley.

A university participant said the programme showed her that “these things can happen to anyone regardless of how hardworking or intelligent you are.” The frustration in breaking out of the poverty cycle hit her hard. “It demonstrated how hopeless these situations can be, it felt like running in circles. The simulations changed the way I perceive poverty, homelessness and even being an addict. Instead of jumping to a conclusion and judging, I started thinking what bad things could have happened in a person’s life that led him/her to live like that.”

The programmes seek to re-produce the raw and intense struggle which so many battle when pitted against life’s odds.  A Manchester University student wrote, “This event has changed perception of refugee camps for me entirely. The information you receive from the news is not enough. The simulation made it real.” She said it shocked her at the time but, after analysing the experience later, saw it represented reality. Escaping death, these people then face, as she put it, “iniquity because of their vulnerability.” She cited the choices they had: child labour, sexual abuse, even the sale of body organs, just “to have a little chance for their family to survive. What is sadder is that there is no guarantee that in the end all is worth it.”


What can a UK school do with Crossroads?
We are often asked what activities schools can do with us. We have four main ways:

  • DONATE uniforms or educational equipment if it is in very good condition.
  • RUN A COLLECTION of much needed items. We’re happy to advise.
  • FUNDRAISE for a school in our network.
  • BOOK A SIMULATION on global need.

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